Vacating Order:

An act of the court to annul, set aside, or otherwise render void a prior order, most commonly used to terminate or rescind court judgments and orders.  Refer to Court Order or Variation Order.


Process in divorce of determining the current worth of an asset (real or personal property) for the purpose of equitable distribution. Value may be assigned by agreement of the parties, or by evidence offered by expert witness and supported by written documentation (appraisals).  Refer to Appraisal, Cost Analysis, Income Analysis or Market Analysis.


The price (cash or equivalent) that a buyer could reasonably be expected to pay and a seller could reasonably be expected to accept, if the business were for sale on the open market for a reasonable period of time, both buyer and seller being in possession of all pertinent facts, and neither being under any compulsion to act.  Refer to Fair Market.

Variation Order:

An order issued by the court that changes some or all of the terms of an existing order or agreement.  Refer to Court Order.

VAWA (Violence Against Women Act):

Federal legislation designed to address violence against women by acknowledging the harm caused by domestic and sexual violence, and allocating resources to helping victims of abuse.  Supports the criminal justice system in responding to acts of violence, and provides additional services funding for immigrant, rural, disabled and older women.


The legal term used to describe persons summoned to the court for the purpose of being questioned and potentially chosen to serve as jurors in civil or criminal trials.  Refer to Voir Dire.


The location and type of court, and the legally proper place (jurisdiction) where a particular case should be filed or heard indicating the county from which the jury are to arrive who are to try the issue.  Refer to Jurisdiction.


The formal decision or finding made by a jury concerning the questions submitted to it during a trial.  More technically called a general verdict, it is the outcome of a lawsuit after a jury hears the evidence presented by both sides in a trial, determines the facts of the case, applies the relevant law to the facts, and makes a final decision.  Though most verdicts are upheld by the judge presiding at the trial, the judge has the discretion to set aside a verdict in certain circumstances.  Refer to Trial by Jury.

Vested Interest:

Relative to investment instruments and retirement benefits, means the spouse of an employee owns and is entitled to exercise or receive a financial share.  Relative to a trust, means the beneficiary has a guaranteed present or future interest. A vested interest, even if a future interest, not currently owned, may affect the court’s decision on alimony and a division of assets in some states.  Refer to Marital Property, Trust or Unexercised Interest.

Virtual Visitation:

An extension of access opportunities to non-custodial parent when time, location or other considerations in the real world make consistent, regular contact with the child(ren) difficult.  Virtual visitation is not considered a substitute for direct parenting, but is intended as one of many tools to help a non-custodial parent build or sustain a relationship with a child in much the same way that court-ordered access does in the world outside of the Internet as if it were in an actual occurrence or situation.


            Refer to Access.

Visitation Right:

The right of access granted to a non-custodial parent or other relative to visit a child on a regular, specified basis during and/or following a divorce proceeding.  Refer to Access, Supervised Access (Visitation), or Monitored Transfer.

Visitation Center:

A neutral location where parent and child visit under supervised conditions for reasons of allegations of abusive behavior toward the child, re-introduction of a parent into a child’s life, or other circumstance that may require close scrutiny as ordered by the court.  Refer to Safe Haven Center or Access.


A reference to a statute, order, contract or anything which is null and of no effect under the law; or a judgment found by an appeals court to be void, and mutually cancelled (rescinded); or an action which could not legally exist even if in fact.  Refer to Vacating Order or Ipso Facto.

Voir Dire:

A French term meaning "to see, to speak”, and referring to the manner of selecting a jury.  Voir dire encompasses the process of questioning prospective jurors, to ascertain their qualifications and determine any basis for challenge.  It determines if a juror is biased and/or cannot deal with the issues fairly; if there is cause not to allow a juror to serve based on knowledge of the facts; acquaintanceship with parties, witnesses or attorneys; and whether occupation which might lead to bias; prejudice against the death penalty; or previous experiences such as having been sued in a similar case.  Some prospective jurors may be dismissed for cause by the judge, and the attorneys may excuse others in "peremptory" challenges without stating any reason.  Refer to Trial by Jury, Petit Jury, or Veniremen.

Voluntary Acknowledgment:

The deliberate act of a man who signs a written declaration claiming to be the biological father of the child(ren) in question. Such declaration usually follows certain formal requirements established by state law.